James Forsyth James Forsyth

Rationing and blackouts are a possibility this winter

Credit: Getty Images

The debate about energy in the UK has largely concentrated on just how high prices will go. This is understandable given how seismic the October and January increases in the energy price cap are likely to be. But today’s announcement from Norway that it will prioritise refilling domestic reservoirs over exporting hydropower to countries like the UK is a reminder that supply may soon become an issue too.

In a crisis, borders reassert themselves as Covid showed. What happened with PPE and medical supplies during the pandemic may well happen with energy this winter. This is a concern for the UK given that it imports large quantities of energy during the winter.

If there are circumstances in which Norway, France, Holland or Belgium limit exports because of the need to maintain domestic supply that will cause problems for the UK. The National Grid currently says that the UK will avoid blackouts this winter, but there is little room for unpleasant surprises in their calculations.

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